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Sikkim Diaries: Visiting a Piece of Heaven Called Gurudongmar

lake, Gurudongmar, Lachen, North Sikkim

Gurudongmar was on my bucket-list since 2011 when I planned with my friends for North Sikkim travel for the first time. Unfortunately, due to a devastating earthquake in Sikkim in the same year, we had to cancel our trip. Nevertheless, visiting Lake Gurudongmar was my destiny. I finally made it after 5 long years. ๐Ÿ™‚

Selfie, Lumia 540, Gurudongmar, lake, north sikkim

Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas, at approx. 17,800 feet above the sea level, the holy lake is about 3.5-hour drive from Lachen, a small village where tourist can halt for the night.

We started early, at 4 am. It was a terribly bumpy ride on the rough mountain roads till the army check post after Thangu, which was our only halt duringย this hectic journey.

mountain roads, north sikkim

north sikkim, mountain, desert, road

26641876673_f105988cca_hThe road gets better from here, offering a smooth ride, which is a rarity in North Sikkim. ๐Ÿ˜› ย  ๐Ÿ˜€ ย mountain, road, desert, north sikkim

North sikkim, lachen, gurudongmar, landscape, mountains

As we were nearing the lake the landscapes changed drastically without any trace of trees and plants. It looked more like a desert with dune-like formations visible at the horizon. Exalted and overwhelmed, one of our group members commentedย that the landscapes reminded himย ofย Ladakh. ๐Ÿ™‚

road, gurudongmar, north sikkim

mountain, desert, north sikkim, gurudongmar

Whatever it might look like, the mountain desert looked outlandish and fascinating to me.ย I was spellbound with the sights of such exotic landscapes.

way to gurudongmar, north sikkim, himalayas

mountains, himalayas, north sikkim

snow, mountains, north sikkim

We saw herds of yaks grazing on the fields, totally indifferent about the tourist vehicles that were running past them.

yaks, north sikkim, mountain desert, himalayas

27150318012_3e53ac0ac2_hFinally, we reached our destination, Lake Gurudongmar, at 7:30 am. Thatโ€™s how the holy lake looked like in the morning light โ€“ still, calm, and unspoiled.

lake gurudongmar, north sikkim, reflection

The first few moments were speechless in silent admiration to such divine beauty.

gurudongmar, lake, north sikkim

There is a temple on the bank. I didnโ€™t find time to enter as I was too busy in absorbing the beauty of nature all around.

gurudongmar, holy lake, north sikkim, himalayas

prayer flags, colors, north sikkim, gurudongmar

lake gurudongmar, north sikkim

Gurudongmar, north sikkim, landscape

And of course, posingย for the camera with the lake on the backdrop. ๐Ÿ˜‰

gurudongmar, holy lake, north sikkim, nature

However, amid this clean and clear environment, the taxis/rental cars were the direct agent of air pollution. These rental cars are so poorly maintained in Sikkim. I wonder whyย the local administrationย is so indifferent about them whileย it is so strict about keeping Gangtok clean.

environmental pollution, north sikkim, gurudongmar, mountains

In addition, there are the “litterbugs” who never forget to throw off their disposable belongings anytime, anywhere. If you zoom into the picture (below) you’ll see the discardedย water bottles. Is it not the responsibility of the visitors, too, to keep the environment clean?

mountains, gurudongmar, environmental pollution, north sikkim

Our Tour Plan

We were lucky to have the weather in our favor during our tour from May 7 to 12, 2016. Our North Sikkim tour included 2-night 3-day Lachung-Lachen package. We stayed at Hotel Meylong in Gangtok and booked the Lachung-Lachen tour package through ourย hotel. You can check out my review of Hotel Meylong on TripAdvisor for more information.

Our North Sikkim tour plan was like this โ€“

Day 1: NJPย (New Jalpaiguri) to Gangtok (We reached NJP from Kolkata at around 9am by Padatik Express)

Day 2: Gangtok to Lachung (Night stay at Lachung)

Day 3: Visit Yumthung Valley and Zero Point – Back to hotel at Lachung for lunch – drive to Lachen (Night stay at Lachen)

Day 4: Visit Lake Gurudongmar and drive back to hotel for lunch – return to Gangtok by evening

Day 5: Gangtok sightseeing

Day 6: Visit Changu (Tsomgo Lake), Baba Mandir and Nathu La pass and return to Gangtok

Day 7: Start for NJP after lunch and reach there by 7:30 pm and board the train to Kolkata

Some Important Info

Please note that if you are an Indian citizen, you should carry your Voter ID card/PAN card/driving license as photo identity proof along with 4-5 photocopies of the same document and an equal number of passport size photographs for Lachung-Lachen tour. You may need to submit these documents to get the travel permit. However, you cannot rent cars on your own and arrange theย tour directly. You have to go viaย a local tour operator or your hotelโ€™s travel desk. They will arrange everything for you.

Finally, don’t forget to pack an umbrella if you are visiting in theย May-June season. You mayย need it anytime. ๐Ÿ™‚

To be continued…

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235 thoughts on “Sikkim Diaries: Visiting a Piece of Heaven Called Gurudongmar

  1. Its austerity makes it so gorgeous. I have always wanted to visit someplace like this one. The landscape reminds me of pictures I have seen of Leh Ladakh and such. Littering such a place is almost blasphemous!
    Beautiful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful place and great pictures. Thanks for sharing. You have reminded me of my trip to Nepal when I visited Lake Rah Rah. We were there in August September and it was very warm and very green. We flew in to an airstrip in the Mugu District and walked to the Lake. It was a great experience for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. really nice photo. i bet all the visitors that get there to take some day off will be happy.i am from albania and i really like mountains because i grew up in mountainous country and i really enjoy. people that leave there know very well what does it mean to wake up in the morning and take a deep breath. i bet will fell like i would love to live forever such in this country. i hope people to find time and spend money taking vocation with their family and and enjoy those beauty that god gave us.

    Like

    1. Thank you! It’s a beautiful place but you cannot live there at 17,800 ft above the sea level where there are no trees and plantations. Only yaks to give you company. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  4. Amazing is not the word…my be I will have to find something new. I am happy for you got to see heaven on earth. I feel proud that my country is home to many such spectacular places. Thank you for sharing these in detail. Hope you have many more such beautiful journey and bring it to us. Love, Vannie

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you, Astha. Sure there are shared taxis (jeeps) from Lachen to Lake Gurudongmar. But you have to book the tour package via a local tour operator/your hotel’s travel desk. You can’t book a shared taxi to that place directly, as far as I know.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sikkim is there right on top of my wishlist and your images makes it irresistible ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful post, with very informative notes and also addressing some serious environmental concerns…

    Liked by 5 people

  6. That early early morning super bumpy drive from Lachen to Gurudongmar seems totally worth it the second you see the site of this tranquil lake! God I can never forget my trip to Sikkim and Gurudongmar was one of the many highlights! Loved your post and thanks for bringing back so many memories ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Thank you for capturing this divine beauty and sharing it. I especially love seeing the prayer flags lining the edge of the lake. A reminder of the sacredness.
    I too would find it very meaningful if people would take out what they bring in. It is often difficult for me to bear how people choose to treat our planet, especially such a sacred place.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your views here, Arati. It is really exasperating when we see so-called educated and “cultured” people don’t act responsibly and care towards nature and environment. The problem is deep rooted in our society. I have seen many parents act insensibly in front of their children – throwing out empty plastic bottles and chips packets from the running car, throwing garbage anywhere, even when there is a trash a few steps away.. I think, ‘How to take care of Environment’ should be a primary subject, which needs to be taught seriously in every school. May be that way we can infuse some sense of responsibility in our children.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Awesome! The pics and the story you shared makes me feel like travelling there right away. I especially like the way you complemented words and pics. I just loved it and started following your posts.

    Liked by 7 people

  9. It does look like Ladakh if I compare with the pics I have seen!
    But this is indeed scintillating and the landscapes are a pure bliss to see. The lake is so so gorgeous ๐Ÿ˜Š

    On the trash, I guess in India you can hardly control it- it is in our culture!

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Okay, thanks for saying so. Then I really got a demo of Ladakh, which is on my bucket-list. ๐Ÿ˜€

      And you are right. It’s a bitter truth of our society. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Awesome. That’s all I could think about. Also, I like how well you present the content. Linear, structured and informative. This great Moon. You have done a great job with your blog. Kudos!

    Liked by 6 people

  11. I had been to Sikkim long long back, during the analog times!
    I wish I could go there now. Your pics are fantastic.
    And I agree there are some who spoil such places by littering.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Thank you, Maniparna. But you know… it was semi-crowed even in the early morning… tourist and tourists everywhere along with these smoky vehicles… I wonder how long Sikkim will be able to preserve this divine beauty.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. A beautiful collection of photos. The lake is stunning! This landscape looks familiar to me; it’s very much like the high Rocky Mountains in Colorado where you can drive above the tree line. Of course, we don’t have yaks! But, there are elk and bighorn sheep.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Thank you. We stayed in Hotel Meylong in Gangtok, the details of which I have mentioned in this post. And our Lachen hotel was an extension of Meylong hotel as part of the Lachung-Lachen tour package.

      Liked by 3 people

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